18 open questions to keep a sales conversation flowing.

It’s Monday morning and you’re clutching a vending machine mocha like it’s the last drink on Earth. Your laptop is “installing update 1 of 83” and raindrops are rolling down your forehead. Just as you begin to sit down, Graham from accounts peers over his screen and asks “good weekend?” You know fully well that […]

It’s Monday morning and you’re clutching a vending machine mocha like it’s the last drink on Earth. Your laptop is “installing update 1 of 83” and raindrops are rolling down your forehead.

Just as you begin to sit down, Graham from accounts peers over his screen and asks “good weekend?” You know fully well that he isn’t searching for the intricate details of your two days off, so you nod politely and reply “Yes, you?”.

Closed questions are conversation killers that do more harm than good. If someone really wants to know how you are, they’ll give you the chance to open up.

Even though this may seem like quite an obvious point, it’s still overlooked by many sales professionals who just gabble their way through dozens of closed questions until someone hangs up.

“Did you find that report useful?”

“No, not really.”

“Would you like me to send you anything else?”

“No, it’s ok.”

No, no, no, bye…

So whether you’re new in sales or you need a reminder, here are 18 open questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Getting started

Closed: Is it going well at [business name]?
Open: What’s new at [business name] right now?

Closed: So you’re the head of marketing there, is that right?
Open: Tell me about your role as the head of marketing. What are your main responsibilities?

Closed: I noticed that you downloaded our report “Multi-device shopping stats 2017”. Did you find it useful?
Open: I noticed that you downloaded our report “Multi-device shopping stats 2017”. Why did you choose that particular one?

Closed: Has anything changed since we last spoke?
Open: What’s changed since we last spoke?

Learning more

Closed: I’m going to run through a couple of case studies from X and Y. Is that ok?
Open: I’m going to run through a couple of case studies from X and Y. What else would you like me to cover?

Closed: Do you work to a set of growth KPIs?
Open: Tell me about the type of KPIs you work towards.

Closed: Do you think that feature might be useful?
Open: How would that feature impact your business if all of your staff had this at their fingertips?

Closed: Is it a problem you often encounter?
Open: How does this problem affect the business?

Closed: Is this a problem that you’re looking to overcome?
Open: If you could overcome this problem, how would that affect the company’s finances?

Closed: Are you restricted by a fixed budget?
Open: Can you tell me how budget restricts what you’re trying to achieve?

Closed: Does that process create problems?
Open: What are the main challenges caused by that process?

Closed: Are you looking at a few different options?
Open: What other options are available to you?

Decisions

Closed: Do you have a deadline for making a decision?
Open: Tell me about the process for making a decision. What does it involve?

Closed: Is anyone else involved in this decision?
Open: Who else is involved in this decision?

Next steps

Closed: I’m going to send you some information by email. Is that ok?
Open: What would you like me to send you by email?

Closed: Would you like a product demo?
Open: Let’s arrange a demo. I’ve got three appointments available on X, Y and Z. Which one works best for you?

Ending a call

Closed: Is there anything else I can help you with?
Open: What else can I help you with?

Closed: Does that make sense?
Open: How do you feel about that?

Open questions help you to fully understand a prospect’s requirements and tailor your product or service accordingly. If a call is going well, you won’t be the only one doing the talking.

We’ve created over a £100 million of new leads for our clients in four years. Call us today on +44 (0) 118 402 1440 to start improving the quality of your lead generation.

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